October 10, 2011

movies: Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert
Released a year ago in cinemas, now "Eat Pray Love" will grace your TV screens if you care to let it.

Well, there is a lot of crying (by Ms. Roberts) a lot of cooking and very appetizing shots of food, a lot of soul searching, more crying, more eating accompanied by swells of Hollywood music and oldies songs wailing away with a proffered deeper meaning.

The places Liz Gilbert visits - Italy, India, Bali - are served on the silver platter of predictaville.

But I guess if you haven't travelled much you might find it interesting. In Italy, we learn people eat all the time and speak with their hands. In India, they meditate and you can touch elephants. In Bali, you'll meet a tall, dark stranger while living in a rather luxurious cabana.

The cliches are hard to swallow over the course of two hours. The movie looks good - nicely photographed  especially the food shots but the platitudes get on your nerves. "Send him some light and love" "you got to do the work. Then things will change." "I can't find the feeling of devotion" "This is about you." "You've got some serious control issues" "Believe in love again." "Sit in silence with smile."  It's like watching Oprah on the beach. She endorsed the book which explains everything.

The thing about this movie is that it's completely hypocritical: on the one hand, the movie urges you to go find yourself, to break out of the cast of conformity yet completely caves, bows and scrapes to Hollywood convention when the two very skinny ladies have to buy bigger jeans because they've eaten too much pizza and pasta. So yes, the usual "let's make all normal women feel bad" scene.

American guru guy's confession was the one authentic moment (played by Richard Jenkins)  You'd think Ms. Gilbert would have had an epiphany by then; realizing her life is pretty good and to stop moaning and whinging all the time. But no, she goes on to whinge and cry some more. I guess she has to forgive herself for dumping her husband. That requires a year-long journey around the world because she was so awesome and she's punishing herself because she figures he'll never get over her?

And do little children in Bali really ask strange American women "are you married?" which points with big wagging fingers even in holistic healing centers men seem to be the only thing capable of making women happy. I guess the difference is Ms. Gilbert is trying to love herself without a man and is all rebellious. But really, she's not that rebellious.

The verisimilitude of Liz Gilbert's pain is valid. We all see and feel things differently. I won't dispute that. But really, the character of Liz Gilbert comes across as selfish and completely self-obsessed. She should have gone to work in a refugee camp, help other people and through that helped herself.

I'm not really that into the guru holistic approach nor do I believe in the idea of an invisible creative muse. That's probably why I don't like Ms. Gilbert, her books nor the movie about her life.

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